By JC Mendoza
Given the immense impact that new age technology has on society, more so on business, it is clear that businesses should implement a system of implementation that is agile and definite. This swift implementation of R&D of new age technology should be placed at the forefront of any organization that deems itself a leader of its industry. Increases in R&D costs may hinder or may even deter key leaders from adopting such practices but the facts are clear and it wouldn’t take much thought on seeing that the world is becoming ever more digitized than before.
We now live in the future, a future wherein Virtual and Augmented Reality is now marketed generously to the public. A future where a single smart phone app that used AR in its concept (Pokemon GO) raised a company’s market value to a resounding $9 Billion in just a few days of its release. The numbers were astounding and the resurgence of VR and AR got proper traction once again.
With the ever growing popularity of VR and AR, various industries are now leveraging on the potential of these technologies. Pokemon Go has signalled that any smartphone can be used as a platform for AR and that there is a now market for such applications. Sony has also added wood to the VR flame by introducing to the video games Industry the PlayStation VR.
These advancements in technology are totally disrupting old school marketing practices, from the drastic changes that are happening to the real estate industry to the vast potential for the growth of the retail Industry that are presented by VR and AR.
VR and AR can practically increase a retail company’s employee interaction threefold. From eliminating the pre-existing customer pain points, uplifting retail customer service and imparting a unique and personalized customer experience. These improvements can and will raise profit margins of any retail company brave enough to be an early adopter of such technologies.
One’s imagination is the only barrier that stands against the possible uses VR and AR propose. According to Dan MCkone, Managing Director and Partner at L.E.K Consulting, VR and AR are perfect for the emerging e-commerce wing of the retail sector and retailers should focus on establishing a virtual commerce strategy that would ultimately leverage the rise of demand for e-commerce services.
The marketing trend that is taking over traditional practices is the rise in personalization of customer experience and service. Borrowing from the concept used by the real estate industry, retail businesses can now leverage that ease of access that is presented by VR by showcasing 3D stores and/or 3D products to shoppers.
This concept in part is already being done by Audi through their innovative VR application of taking the experience to the shopper. Consumer can now board a virtual rendering of an Audi car through a certain VR application. This practice negates that underlying problems such as distance and time constraint and thus uplift the chance of a quick and hassle-free product sale, it enhances the customer experience and that is the most important thing to consider.
VR may have gotten more hype than its sister AR but don’t think that AR hasn’t seen any advances in retail application. As of 2016 various business and organizations have AR to outfit their brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores with AR technology.
From the Topshop’s in-store fitting room that uses Microsoft Kinect and AR to let shoppers try on clothes without even taking their clothes off, to Shiseido’s virtual make-up mirror that captures the shopper’s face and digitally render it to simulate the application of make-up.
The possibilities are endless and the potential for monetary rewards are unimaginable. The concept of VR and AR can be said to be the stuff of sci-fi movies but current advancements have plunged us into a world where we can ride virtual cars and wear virtual makeup.
This era is very exciting and scary for marketers and retailers, given that the data is there to support the activation of Virtual Reality for e-commerce and Augmented Reality for in-store applications, nevertheless, before breaking the bank to acquire such technologies, careful planning should be done to decrease risks. The future is here. Are you ready for VR or AR? It’s evident that shoppers are.